After two successive seasons of preliminary final appearances, season 2022 didn't go according to plan for Port Adelaide. Marred by an 0-5 start, the Power were left to play catchup, and eventually their finals hopes diminished at the hands of Richmond in Round 21.
Despite not exceeding lofty expectations, there was a definitive promise with young stars making the next leap, including Connor Rozee who went on to make his maiden All-Australian appearance, Sam Powell-Pepper in his hybrid role as a forward/midfielder, and Todd Marshall coming of age as a young key forward.
And of course, the usual A-grade superstars in Travis Boak and Ollie Wines giving it their all week in and week out.
With the pressure cooker firmly on coach Ken Hinkley as he enters his 11th season in charge, the Power hope to avoid last season's shaky start to get on the right note this Saturday against premiership contenders Brisbane at Adelaide Oval.
Here are five burning questions surrounding Port Adelaide's hopes in 2023.
2. Can Todd Marshall take the next step after a breakout year?
What a year it was for Todd Marshall. After five seasons of unfulfilled potential, 2022 proved to be a breakout campaign for the 24-year-old. Kicking a career-high 45 goals from 21 games, the athletic 198cm forward became Port's number one man inside its attacking 50. From round six onwards, Marshall kicked a goal in every match.
Twice he kicked an equal career-high five goals against Adelaide and West Coast, and three bags of four against Sydney, Gold Coast, and the Crows. Not only did he regularly kick goals, but his accuracy put him as one of the best kicks at goal in 2022, kicking at 75% in front of the sticks.
Speaking to the club's website in December 2021 after re-signing at Alberton until the end of 2024, Marshall said consistency would be key to his improvement. “
I want to be a lot more consistent, be able to put a good season on the board - not just a few games here and there. I want to be able to put my impact on a game, compliment our other forwards and we've got some food forwards down there so hopefully I can help them and they can help me," he said at the time.
Marshall has certainly repaid Port's faith in him.